Russell A. Berman

Senior Fellow

Russell A. Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a co-chair of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.

Berman specializes in the study of German literary history and cultural politics. He is a member of both the Department of German Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford. He has served in numerous administrative positions at Stanford.

He is the author of numerous articles and books including Enlightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture (1998) and The Rise of the Modern German Novel: Crisis and Charisma (1986), both of which won the Outstanding Book Award of the German Studies Association (in 1987 and 2000, respectively). Hoover Institution Press published his books Freedom or Terror: Europe Faces Jihad (2010) and Anti-Americanism in Europe: A Cultural Problem (2004). His other books include Fiction Sets You Free: Literature, Liberty and Western Culture (2007), Cultural Studies of Modern Germany: Representation and Nationhood (1993), Modern Culture and Critical Theory: Art, Politics and the Legacy of the Frankfurt School (1989), and Between Fontane and Tucholsky: Literary Criticism and the Public Sphere in Wilhelmine Germany (1983). He has also published numerous articles in the Hoover Digest, most recently "Spoken Like a World Citizen" (spring 2011). His writings have also appeared in Defining Ideas and Advancing a Free Society.

Berman has received many honors and awards including a Mellon Faculty Fellowship at Harvard University (1982–83), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1988–89), and the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany (1997).

Berman received his BA in 1972 from Harvard and his doctorate from Washington University in 1979.

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Recent Commentary

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Who Leads The West: Trump Or Merkel?

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, December 14, 2017

The constitutional cultures of America and Germany differ markedly­—one prizes individual liberty while the other emphasizes the rational state. 

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Rolling Back Iran: The Global Context

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A question mark is hanging over American grand strategy. The triumphal optimism that marked the end of the Cold War has given way to profound anxiety about the future of the international order. American supremacy has frayed and ominous challenges have emerged. We have entered difficult times. How did we lose our advantage? Can we reclaim it?

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Islam, Islamism And US Strategy In Maritime Southeast Asia

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Maritime Southeast Asia, the area circumscribed by the Malaysian peninsula, the Indonesian archipelago and the Philippines, is vital to US strategic concerns for two primary reasons. First, this region includes the South China Sea where American and Chinese ambitions may be heading toward direct conflict as China continues to press forward with its agenda of extending its reach.


Who Leads The West And Why: Trump Or Merkel? Constitutional Cultures In The United States And Germany

by Russell A. Bermanvia Telos
Monday, September 18, 2017

In these brief comments, I am likely to err on the side of excessive schematization: the positions I want to tease out of several texts deserve more nuance and differentiation than I can provide in this short text. Yet the binary character of the analysis is also a reflection of the highly polarized public debate, certainly in the United States but also in Western Europe, in the wake of various political developments, above all the 2016 election that led to the Donald Trump presidency.

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Trump Vs. Merkel: Friends Or Frenemies?

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, July 27, 2017

The relationship between the United States and Germany is in flux—for better and worse.


A German Chancellor Like No Other

by Russell A. Bermanvia Politico
Monday, June 19, 2017

Helmut Kohl, who sought German unification and European unity, died at the age of 87.

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Social Media, New Technologies and the Middle East

by Russell A. Bermanvia Caravan
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It is a global story, a new industrial revolution. The spread of the internet and the proliferation of social media have led to dramatic changes with salutary results: greater access to more diverse information, gateways to goods and services that have transformed the retail experience, and opportunities to engage and network with expanded communities, while still staying in touch with friends and family, all thanks to the blessings of these new technologies.

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The West And The Battle Of Ideas

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Monday, May 8, 2017

Our educational institutions must instill in future generations the legacy of Western values.      

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Ten Ways to Rescue Mideast Policy

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

In the Middle East the previous administration established neither democracy nor security—and now Russia is on the scene. 

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France Isn't Good For The Jews

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, April 6, 2017

These are troubling times for the Jewish French, which ‘BHL’ glosses over in his new book.